According to Dr. Elias H. Merryman, Lincoln's second, who published the full account of the circumstances in the Journal on October 14 in reply to an account, published in the Journal on October 7, by General John D. Whiteside, Shields' second, the following note from Shields was prepared in about an hour. Whiteside conferred ``two or three hours'' with Lincoln's friend William Butler without presenting the note to Lincoln. ``This was in consequence of an assurance from Mr. Butler that Mr. Lincoln could not receive any communication from Mr. Shields unless it were a withdrawal of his first note or a challenge. Mr. Butler further stated to Gen. Whiteside that on the withdrawal of the first note and a proper and gentlemanly request for an explanation, he had no doubt one would be given.'' Whiteside agreed to take the suggestion to Shields and wait until Monday (it being Saturday the seventeenth) before taking further action. Merryman continues, ``On Monday morning he called and presented Mr. Lincoln the same note as Mr. Butler says he had brought on Saturday evening. It was as follows: A. Lincoln, Esq. TREMONT, Sept. 17, 1842.
In your reply to my note of this date, you intimate that I assume facts, and menace consequences, and that you cannot submit to answer it further. As now, sir, you desire it, I will be a little more particular. The editor of the Sangamo Journal gave me to understand that you are the author of an article which appeared I think in that paper of the 2d Sept. inst, headed the Lost Townships, and signed Rebecca or Becca. I would therefore take the liberty of asking whether you are the author of said article or any other over the same signature, which has appeared in any of the late numbers of that paper. If so, I repeat my request of an absolute retraction of all offensive allusion contained therein in relation to my private character and standing. If you are not the author of any of the articles, your denial will be sufficient. I will say further, it is not my intention to menace, but to do myself justice. Your obd't serv't, JAS. SHIELDS.''
Merryman's account continues: ``This Mr. Lincoln perused, and returned to Gen. Whiteside, telling him verbally, that he did not think it consistent with his honor to negociate for peace with Mr. Shields, unless Mr. Shields would withdraw his former offensive letter.'' Shields, however, replied by designating Whiteside as his second, and Lincoln promptly designated Merryman as his. These gentlemen, mutually agreed to ``endeavor to settle the matter amicably,'' returned to Springfield Monday night only to discover that much excitement prevailed and that an arrest was probable. ``To prevent this,'' Merryman continues, ``it was agreed by Mr. Lincoln and myself that he should leave early on Tuesday morning. Accordingly he prepared the following instructions for my guide, on a suggestion from Mr. Butler, that he had reason to believe that an attempt would be made by the opposite party to have the matter accommodated.''
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